Emotional Breakdowns

in which deep thoughts are disclosed

it’s been so quiet in here! i’ve been too busy working and doing school and writing papers and doing an art internship to say much in here.

oh and drawing naked people.

i’m taking life drawing this semester, and finding that i feel very familiar with the human figure, and so in class all these poses feel natural because i suppose that’s mostly all i’ve ever drawn for ten years.
i’d upload some of my work from the class here, but it’s all on strathmore paper so it’s obnoxiously oversized.

as far as writing goes, most of my attention has been turning towards research papers and emails to classmates or professors.

but i am trying to get underway with a totally revamped version of “sun-walking.” i decided to scrap the idea of a three-part story (that decision was really only a matter of time) and instead work really hard to polish every dimension of “sun-walking” with good old-fashioned hard-core world-building inspired by tolkien. i’m trying to determine their linguistic structure; the individual layers of their clothing; the composition of their rocks; their agriculture…all the things that exist and add to the richness of a world, and all the things that i glazed over when i wrote it originally.

every story i’ve ever written could have benefited from this kind of attention. a majority of the revisions i’ve had to do for “redefining evil” have been related to areas of the story where i glazed over these details i thought were secondary to the social structure of the story, but these details that i skipped are crucial to allowing the social structure to shine like i want it to. it’s like the scaffolding for the stage of the story. and to go back into my original words and — you know, raise up this stage with all its players and sets and props weighing it down while i’m trying to hammer together the platform — is brutal. worth it — definitely worth it. but brutal. i wouldn’t be able to do it unless i believed that the cast and the story is worth it.
and i really think “sun-walking” has enough of a message that i’m devoted to supporting that it’s worth giving it what it needs. and rather than spending an excruciating amount of time drilling back into the original draft and lifting up the weak parts of the story, i’m setting the first draft aside and writing every sentence from scratch. it’s less limiting (and it was margaret’s idea.)

the scariest part is making a decision and sticking with it. that’s why i’m suspended more in the planning stages right now than the penning pages stage.

so i’m sitting at my computer thinking and i want to get some thoughts down here. i’m feeling a little frail, sort of like porcelain…like i’ve been sitting up on a shelf for so long, keeping my lines pretty and my surface unblemished. and now i’m not up there — i’m like, part of a tea set for a five-year-old. i’m sitting for tea in the back yard next to the slobbering german shepherd; i’m under her pillow at night; i’m stuffed into her little purse she’s borrowing from mom while she goes to her first dance recital, so of course she’s flinging me around in her hands while she’s practicing her routine. she’s clinking me against her best friend’s teacup with the strength of a sumo wrestler.
this is sort of a lame extended metaphor, but what i mean is that i’m in all these new situations that i might have observed from my shelf but now i’m a participant and i’m not just watching. and in this lame metaphor, i’m both the teacup and the five-year-old. i’m flinging myself around and i’m chipping my surface.
and the thing about this change is the risk. you know — nobody can hurt you if you’re a bystander, and if you do get hurt, it’s more like when a hockey puck from the rink smashes through the glass and knocks out your front teeth. it’s circumstantial. if you’d been one seat over, it’d have knocked out your best friend’s teeth and not yours. it’s not you — it’s the life going on around you.
but when you’re down there…you know, jumping out of a plane, if you die it’s probably because you had no idea what the hell you were doing. it’s you. your choice; your scenario; your consequences.
and so now i can make mistakes and, say, screw up my internship or get written up at work or fail a test or make an enemy out of a classmate or lose my contract or crash my car or spend too much money or, or, or…
i guess you could say i’m humbled, or i at least came to the realization that i sure as hell better be humble because i’m not likely to stay unblemished for long. it’s more now than worrying that i thought a bad thought and think i’m despicable.
this life isn’t nearly as comfortable as living cozily up on the shelf, dusting myself off now and then. discomfort is real now. and i am definitely not meaning to victimize myself: the risks i refer to are ones i bring upon myself, by acting, by making moves, by being decisive. i can jeopardize my integrity or my friendships or my humility on a daily basis. i can make stupid decisions and turn myself into someone i know i shouldn’t become. now comes the real risk: choosing right for myself. i know inside myself is the morality to which i adhered growing up, and i know i don’t want to betray that. i want to make something of myself, but i also want to make something right of myself. i want confidence, but i do not want arrogance. i am confident — but am i arrogant at times? am i arrogant when i notice it, or does it slip by me? are they criticizing me because i’m finally doing well, or should i listen because they’re probably right?
i’m just hoping that this’ll have its own rewards: that i’ll make a difference, or learn something valuable maybe.

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